The Brooklyn Nets have every right to celebrate after they clinched a postseason berth for the first time since 2007. However, if they want to go any further, they will need center Brook Lopez to step up in the playoffs.
If the season ended today, the Nets would be taking on the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs. That means Lopez would be going one-on-one against the dominant Al Horford. Atlanta’s 6-foot-10, 250-pound center has stepped up his game this season as he is posting career highs across the board. Lopez may have height and weight on him, but Horford must not be taken for granted.
Even if the Nets do not play the Hawks in the first round, Lopez is still going to have to come up big if Brooklyn wants to advance. Nobody is surprised that the Nets made it to the playoffs, but they most certainly cannot get too confident.
The 24-year old Lopez has been on fire as of late. His latest accomplishment was dropping a season-high 38 points and 11 rebounds while shooting a whopping 68.2 percent from the field against the Dallas Mavericks. This is the exact intensity the Nets will need in the ensuing weeks.
It is critical that Lopez plays his game and does not try to do anything out of the ordinary. There is a reason why he is having so much success this season. If he tries to become a different player in the playoffs, it could prevent the team from reaching their highest potential.
Deron Williams and Joe Johnson have been outstanding this year, but Lopez is the player that will take Brooklyn deep in the postseason.